Recently 303Cycling caught up with former pro road cyclist Catherine Powers. In this interview we talk briefly on her pro career and more on her philanthropic efforts in cycling as the "Cycling Queen" of Casey Middle School. To quote Mike Barrow, the president of Boulder Mountain Bike Alliance, "the world is run by those who show up", and from what you will learn in this interview, Catherine shows up!
Catherine Powers was a late bloomer in cycling, it wasn't until 7 years after graduating from Columbia University that she got into cycling. It happened while taking a job as a translator in Costa Rica for Alianza de Mujeres Costaricenses, there she took to triathlons as a way to kill the boredom brought on by not enough work. Upon return to New York City she realized triathlon was just too expensive in New York City and she really wasn’t much of a runner. She continued cycling, however, and eventually ran into Kyoo Min (the former owner of the Sakonnet junior/espoir team) and he introduced her to bike racing. Within one year she rose from cat 4 to cat 2 and was hooked doing every race possible in the New England area. Shortly later she turned pro and joined a team Dasani-MinuteMaid team in California and then finished her career riding for Aaron's and living in Boulder. While Catherine was gifted at cycling it was not easy, she crashed hard on a descent in 2001 and that accident left her with her front teeth knocked in and a mental scarce that would haunt here for the rest of her cycling career, until she retired last year.
Even though Catherine's pro career ended in 08, her passion and dedication to cycling is stronger then ever. Her transition from bike racer back to teacher (her first career out of college) is an interesting one. While racing as a pro she, along with many other athletes, she had a job as a bus driver. As a bus driver she started giving some of her kids homework to do. For example she had a particularly talkative kid by the name of Amin and she teased him by calling him Idi Amin atold him that if he were to learn who Idi amin was, she would give him a candy bar. Soon, nearly all of the riders were begging for homework assignments, and that is when she knew that she wanted to get back into teaching (none of her current students beg for homework assignments, unfortunately).
Now a teacher of world geography in the bi-lingual program at Casey Middle School in Boulder Colorado, Catherine has shifted her focus from heart rates and wattage to helping others getting into cycling both competitively and recreationally. As the "Queen of Cycling" at Casey Catherine has been a instrumental figure in many cycling projects at Casey. Let's cover some of them...
Casey Middle School Cycling Club Casey middle school has a cycling club with about 20 members whose focus is to get kids on bikes. They have about 10 bikes which are apart of the club and kids can use them for club events. Some of the events include rides to the western end of the Boulder Creek path and other casual rides around town on the bike paths. While this might seem very elementary to most of us you have to remember that many of these kids either don't own a bike or are unfamiliar with all of the great riding around Boulder. Nearly all of those 10 bikes Catherine herself got with the help of the Safe Routes to School team, some via Community Cycles, some from parents and some she got on Craig's List by convincing the sellers to give her the bike as good Karma.
Getting kids on the Velodrome This is a new program with her club students at Casey middle school, below is the mission statement...
Our mission is to enhance the lives of young people in Boulder by exposing them to the joys of cycling. We will share our love of cycling in its many disciplines and varied purposes. We will serve a diverse group of young people and focus on reaching out to those who might not otherwise have the opportunity to participate in cycling activities due to financial limitations or other obstacles. We will fund after school programs, summer activities and race series’ for youth. We will strive to provide access to a bike, a helmet and bike education for all young people who would like them. Our target age group will be 11 to 14 year-olds so we will work extensively with middle school bike clubs.
This program setup 10 kids into a junior track program allowing these kids to experience a whole new discipline of cycling they might never get the chance to do without programs like this. While the Boulder Indoor Velodrome did give them a discounted rate they still need donations to make it happen. After doing this interview and getting to know more about Catherine I have become so impressed with her that I will personally donate $60 dollars to here cause, allowing 1 of the 10 kids to ride the track. PLEASE join in and help out (see below) Remember Mike Barrow's quote, "The world is ran by those who show up", so lets "show up" and help Catherine get these kids on the track!
Safe Routes to School Once a week when the weather permits this Spring Catherine will be joining students on a group ride to school creating a train of cycling students to school. in addition to that she helps out with the organization managing the Safe Routes to School program. BVSD’s Landon Hilliard helps schools all over Boulder take part in this effort and Casey parents Lynn Buhlig and Regina Bock work very hard to encourage walking and biking to Casey as well
Casey Middle School CX races She was instrumental in getting a cross race setup at Casey middle school for the kids giving them a chance to experience racing in a fun and safe environment. She had help from Ben Turner, Chris Grealish, Landon Hilliard, George Sharman, Margell Abel and a few local cycling pros like Anne Samplonius, Chuck Coyle and Chris Baldwin.
There is plenty more that can be said about Catherine but I have a deadline to get this interview out so above are the highlights! But lets be clear here, while Catherine is an amazing person dedicated to getting kids into cycling she couldn't do it alone! She has had amazing support from names I mentioned inaddition to others like Brian Worthy at Vermarc for donating jersey's to the club, to Landon Hilliard at Boulder Valley School District, Alex Viggio and Stuart Mann who are helping get the foundation started and to YOU! Please help Catherine get 10 kids into the Boulder Velodrome junior cycling program. All it takes is $60 dollars to adopt a kid to get them into the program! I have been so personally impressed by Catherine that I am personally donating $60 and I strongly encourage you to think about helping out to. Want to help out? Here is what you can do
- Provide a donation (see details below for mailing and whom to write checks to)
- Donate cycling clothing! The kids LOVE it
Write checks to: Casey Middle School, write BICY on the check.
send check to: 6096 Baseline Road; Boulder, CO, 80304